Each year, on the last Monday in May, Americans honor the sacrifices of military men and women who paid the ultimate price in their service to our nation. More than one million American men and women have died in military service during wartime, including more than 655,000 battle deaths. On May 30, 2016, we again pay tribute to these men and women and remember their service to their country.
This is what Memorial Day symbolizes — a time Americans take a clear look at both our past and our future. One day each year, when we acknowledge the debt we owe to those men and women who — because they so cherished peace — chose to live as warriors.
Could anything be more contradictory than the lives of our soldiers? They love America, so they spend long years in foreign lands far from her shores. They revere freedom, so they sacrifice their own that we may be free. They defend our right to live as individuals, yet yield their individuality in that cause. Perhaps most paradoxically of all, they value life, and so bravely ready themselves to die in the service of our country. — Deborah Y. Parker
Moment of Remembrance
Memorial Day Observances will range from parades to memorial ceremonies and organized moments of silence. The Memorial Day National Moment of Remembrance honors America’s fallen warrriors. Established by Congress in 2000, the “Moment” asks Americans, wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause for one minute, in an act of national unity and respect for the fallen.
What Is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.
On Memorial Day, the United States flag is traditionally raised to the top of the staff, then solemnly lowered to half-staff position until noon, when it is raised again to full-staff for the rest of the day. The half-staff position is to remember the more than one million men and women who have given their lives for this country.
At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $367.70
A few Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $400.00.
2. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, which is on sale for $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you many want to add an additional large heavy press, but this will get the job done. This kit includes an RCBS Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Hand Priming Tool, Load Manual, Loading Tray, and more. It’s hard to beat this combination of tools for under $200.00.
3. Walmart — 14-gun Stack-on Gun Safe
If you need a smaller, secondary safe that can fit in a closet, here’s a 14-gun Stack-On Safe that is a great bargain right now. The safe is on sale at Walmart for $399.00 — nearly $200 off the regular price. And Walmart offers FREE shipping or FREE Pickup. Don’t expect this to hold anywhere near 14 scoped rifles — 8 or so long-guns will probably be the most you can fit comfortably. But that’s fine for a secondary “closet” safe that will also articles such as cameras, jewelry, and important documents. One verified safe purchaser states: “This safe is 300 pounds, not too hard to move around, took it home in my truck.”
4. Cabela’s — Lyman Turbo Sonic 1200, $69.99
Looking for a reliable ultrasonic cleaning unit at a rock-bottom price? Here’s a very good deal, $69.99 for the Lyman 1200 (this popular unit sells elsewhere for up to $110.00). This machine will hold up to 350 9mm cases, and clean them in 10-15 minutes. The see-through cover lets you view the progress in the 6.5″L x 5.4″W x 2.6″D heated tank. Select four different dwell times with handy touch controls.
5. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $389.99
Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with some nice features at a very attractive price, $389.99. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter.
6. MidwayUSA — Free Shipping with Order of $150.00 or More.
Here’s a deal that can save you big bucks on shipping. But don’t procrastinate — this free shipping offer runs out tomorrow (5/31/2016). If you shop at MidwayUSA during the next two days, you can get FREE Shipping on all orders of $150.00 or more for in-stock merchandise. Use Promo Code FSMEMORIAL on check-out. NOTE: This offer expires Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST.
7. Midsouth — Lyman Bleacher Loading Blocks
Lyman’s new Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holders are great. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. Made of durable polymer, Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $5.90 per Block at Midsouth.
8. RCBS — Buy Green, Get Green Rebate
RCBS is running a very attractive Rebate Program currently. If you spend $300.00 on qualifying products you get a $75.00 rebate. Spend $50 and get a $10.00 Rebate. This program is limited to one (1) rebate redemption per calendar year, with a maximum of $75.00. CLICK HERE for more information. NOTE: To qualify, you must supply completed RCBS rebate coupon, original UPC barcodes from package, and original cash register receipt and/or dated, itemized sales invoice.
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We often receive questions from varmint hunters and AR shooters regarding barrel length. They want to know how much velocity they will loose if they run a shorter barrel in their .223-Rem rifle. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com did a test that provides some surprising answers to that question.
With barrels, one always wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To help answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length.
Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch. (See inch-by-inch data HERE.)
5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″
Start FPS at 26″
End FPS at 16.5″
Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr
Federal M193 55gr
Win m855 62gr
Blk Hills .223 68gr
*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.
Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”
How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”
Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths.
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If you’re planning a significant purchase, such as a new riflescope, or a couple new barrels, then head over to Bruno Shooters Supply in the next two days. Now through 8:00 am on May 31st, 2016, Bruno’s is running a Memorial Day Sale. You can get 7% off ALL online orders (other than firearms or actions). So you can save 7% on optics, 7% on powder and primers, 7% on barrels, 7% on reloading tools… you get the idea. Doing the math, seven percent off a $2000.00 scope is $140.00 — that’s a fair chunk of change.
NOTE: This deal applies to Online Orders Only, placed through www.BrunoShooters.com. (Phone lines will NOT be open over the holiday.) Bruno’s stocks all your favorite products, including brass from Lapua and Norma, bullets from Barts, Berger, Sierra, and Nosler, dies from Redding and Wilson, and Powder from Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, Alliant and Western. Bruno’s also has a large selection of optics including comp scopes from Leupold, Nightforce, Sightron, and Weaver.
Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome Reader Submissions.
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“My daughter’s favorite color is purple, so I built her a purple rifle….”
Here’s a feel-good story about a family that shoots together, and a dad who did something very special for his daughter. All fathers create things for their children, but it’s unusual to find a Dad who has the skills (and motivation) to build a top-level competition rifle for his child. Our friend, Erik Cortina, did just that. Here is the story of the lovely purple maple F-Class rig Erik built for his girl Amberleeana.
AUDIO FILE: Erik Cortina and Daughter Amberleeana Talk about the Purple Rifle. (Sound file loads when you click button).
My daughter would always tell me when I would go to a match, “Remember Dad, only Xs matter, the other stuff on the target is just there for decoration!” — Erik Cortina
A Father’s Gift: An F-Classer for Amberleeana
by Erik Cortina
My daughter Amberleeana has been wanting to shoot F-Class for a long time because I have been dragging her to matches since she was a little girl. She would come into my reloading room and watch me reload while she asked a million questions, all which I tried to answer to the best of my abilities. At age 9, she started hunting with a semi-custom rifle her grandfather gave her, a 6×47 Lapua built on a Remington 700 action with a Bartlein barrel. She has been very successful as a hunter so she decided to move to the next step and start shooting F-Class.
She shot my backup rifle before and she really enjoyed it. Here’s a YouTube video from a while back. This shows Amberleeana, at age 11, shooting at 500 yards for the very first time. You can see she does very well.
After hearing about the U.S. F-Class Under 25 (U25) Rifle Team selection trials in Raton this upcoming summer, Amberleeana wanted to try out for the U25 Team. I told her that was OK, but we had to modify the rifle she was currently using so that it could fit her better. After some consideration, I decided instead to sell that rifle and build her a brand new one.
Her favorite color is purple, so I built her a purple rifle with adjustable cheek piece and butt pad. Shurley Brothers (Austin, TX) crafted the stock from maple, and then applied a purple gloss finish. We think it turned out great. Amberleeana is eager to take the rifle to Raton this summer: “I would like to make the Under 25 U.S. Rifle Team and compete at the F-Class World Championship in Canada in 2017. My main focus now is on the upcoming team try-outs in Raton, New Mexico.”
I hope that my daughter enjoys F-Class as much as I have, which will allow us to spend more time together on the range and in the reloading room.
6.5×47 Lapua Load Development
The purple rifle is chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge. Our preliminary load work up shows great promise using Vihtavuori N140 powder, 136gr Lapua Scenar bullets, and CCI 450 primers. We tried a variety of charge weights, starting at 35.7 grains of N140 and ending up at 38.2 grains. The photo below shows an initial series of 3-shot test groups at 120 yards. What do you think is the best node? What charge weight would YOU select among these? [Editor: That final load of 38.2 grains looks very good, but we would want to check for pressure signs and repeat with 10-round strings checking for ES and SD. Also, if you go by the vertical only, the 36.0 and 36.3 loads are worth further testing.]
Purple Rifle Specifications:
Stock: Shurley Brothers Lowrider XL stock (Maple)
(Finished by Shurley Brothers, bedded by Speedy Gonzalez)
Action: Kelbly F-Class Panda
Trigger: Flavio Fare
Barrel: Brux 32″-long, 1:8″-twist, 4-groove stainless, chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua
(Barrel work and assembly done by Erik Cortina)
Barrel Tuner: ECTuner (matches barrel contour)
Scope: Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition
Front Rest: SEB NEO front rest
Rear Sandbag: Edgewood
Load: VV N140, 136gr Scenars, CCI 450 primers
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If you’ve been looking for a premium-quality stock for a new gun project, now’s the time to buy. As a Memorial Day promotion, McMillan is offering 10% off the price of its entire inventory of stocks and accessories in the McMillan Online Store. That can save you some serious coin on many of McMillan’s most popular stocks, including benchrest stocks, hunting stocks, varmint stocks, and tactical stocks such as the A2, A3 and A5.
You can get 10% off McMillan merchandise now through 11:59 pm on May 30, 2015. This applies sitewide on the McMillan online store. The sale applies to all of McMillan’s most popular designs as well as new-for-2016 stocks such as the XTR and Game Warden. To get 10% off, use Promo Code “MemorialSale” at check out.
Sale Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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When Berry’s Bench Topper was first released a couple years ago, it proved very popular with hand-loaders looking for extra space on their bench. This unique all-metal riser lets you place a reloading press above your bench surface, clearing valuable space.
We’re pleased to report that the Bench Topper is back in production. The Bench Topper, from Berry’s Manufacturing, is a sturdy platform that holds a loading press and storage bins in a raised position above your bench — effectively creating additional room for scales, trimmers, and component storage below. The $111.30 Bench Topper (Midsouth item 037-00191) can bolted to your bench, or it can be secured with C-Clamps (for easy removal). Do you load at the range? The Bench Topper can be easily transported in your vehicle, providing a handy platform for your press and powder measure.
Bench Topper Specs:
6 x 20 x 1/4″
10 x 20 x 1/4″
Height: 11.5 Inches
Weight: 12.5 Pounds
Berry’s Bench Topper is crafted from CNC-machined aluminum and powder-coated black for durability. It comes with two aluminum hangers for storage bins for bullets or brass. All fasteners are recessed for a clean work surface. NOTE: The Bench Topper must be assembled by the purchaser, and YOU MUST DRILL YOUR OWN HOLES for installation of your press or other hardware. This requires a few minutes of initial set-up time, but this allows a secure, custom installation for any brand of reloading press.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome user submissions.
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It’s Super Shoot time. The “Top Guns” of Point Blank Benchrest are battling for prizes and glory at Kelbly’s Rifle Range in North Lawrence, Ohio. This annual event, held May 25-28 this year, draws some of the best 100-yard and 200-yard benchrest shooters in the world. Recent Super Shoots have drawn 300+ competitors from the USA and more than a dozen other countries (about 15% of the competitors come from overseas).
Past Super Shoot Highlights Video (Watch This — It’s Very Well Done!)
If you’ve never attended the Super Shoot before, and don’t know what to expect, former Sinclair International President Bill Gravatt offers some insights into this great event:
Super Shoot — What It’s All About
The excitement and anticipation leading up to a Super Shoot can be hard to explain to those who haven’t been to one. Every year, some shooters arrive at the Super Shoot a week early to dial in their rifles, learn wind conditions for the range, and enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow shooters. As the match draws closer, campers and RVs fill the area behind the range, and shooters stake out turf all over the property with their reloading and cleaning equipment setups.
Many shooters choose to load cartridges in the main barn directly behind the 60-bench firing line, while others decide to work in pop-ups, campers and other outbuildings around the facility. Benchrest shooters tend to load in small batches, and some most load cartridges between each match. Many shooters clean their rifles after each match, while others sometimes go two or three matches between cleanings, depending on the number of rounds they fire.
Another part of high-level benchrest competition that will amaze first-time attendees is the quality and amount of equipment benchrest shooters use. Just in front of the shooting benches and the targets, range flags of all kinds sprout up, from the typical “daisy wheel” flags to very sophisticated velocity indicators that show varying wind intensity. Shooters adjust their flags to align with the particular target in front of a specific bench, just slightly below the path of the bullet but still partially visible in the high-powered scopes.
The rifles represent a variety of actions, usually custom, with heavy benchrest barrels by various barrel makers. The most popular cartridge used is the 6mm PPC, but occasionally you will run into someone using a 6mm BR or a slightly modified 6mm BR, and as well as a few other cartridges. Rifle rests used are typically heavy tripods or plate rests. You see a lot of Sinclair rests, Farley rests, and a variety of others, including a few homemade rests. Bags are typically Edgewood or Protektor.
Super Shoot — Runners, Pickers and the Pursuit of Perfection
The techniques vary between shooters, and they are interesting to observe. Some shooters “run” their targets and will shoot a quick sighter and then run all 5 shots as fast as they can before conditions change. Others are “pickers” and shoot each shot carefully, going back and forth between the record target and the sighter target to verify wind conditions and bullet drift. These guys will sometimes shoot up to 10 sighters and use the full seven minutes. Both styles of shooting work and many shooters use both techniques depending on the match conditions[.]
Anyone who attends the Super Shoot will come away with a greater appreciation of precision benchrest shooting. Experienced benchresters already know there will be windy days that drive them crazy, and less experienced shooters can get completely lost when… holding off a shot in the wind. But the reward is worth it. It’s very satisfying to hold off a full inch at 100 yards because the wind changes during your string and drop your fifth shot into a sub 0.100″ group with only seconds remaining on the clock. And that’s what the Super Shoot is all about.
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The Savage Arms A17 rifle has been named the 2016 Rifle of the Year by American Hunter Magazine, which awarded Savage Arms a Golden Bullseye Award. “Savage Arms has created a modern rimfire rifle deserving of a 2016 Golden Bullseye Award” said Doug Hamlin of NRA Publications. Savage Arms President Al Kasper declared: “We’re incredibly proud to receive the American Hunter Golden Bullseye Award, and with this recognition, we’re confident we have produced a category-leading firearm.”
The A17 is a 17 HMR semi-automatic with delayed-blowback action. Previous semi-auto 17 HMR designs struggled to cope with the extra power of the 17 HMR cartridge compared with a .22 LR. Savage solved that problem using a delayed blowback mechanism with retracting locking lug. You can see how that works in the video below.
Watch this Video — You’ll Learn Something about Semi-Auto Rimfires
This Savage-produced video demonstrates how the 17 HMR Savage A17 rifle works. The video includes nicely-done 3D Graphics that illustrate the function of the A17’s delayed-blowback action with “interrupter lug”. Using “X-Ray View” animation, the video shows what happens INSIDE the chamber as rounds are fired. The video also explains how the 17 HMR presents a tougher engineering challenge than the lower-pressure .22 LR cartridge.
Varminter.com Savage A17 Field Test and Hunt Report
Ammo Accuracy Results from Varminter.com Field Test:
NOTE: This entire test was performed without cleaning the barrel. For each ammo type, ten (10) 5-shot groups were done. That’s seven times 50, for a total of 350 rounds. The gun used Savage’s original, first-generation polymer A17 stock. Some folks have reported better accuracy with the late-model A17s in the laminated wood thumbhole stock or the laminated wood Sporter Stock (shown below).
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When developing loads, it is important to know the true internal capacity of your cases, both fired and “as FL-sized”. In particular, when using the QuickLOAD program, it is vital to determine true case capacity. The default case capacity values listed by QuickLOAD may be off half a grain (or more) because brass from different manufacturers can vary considerably in capacity. Case capacity is a very important variable that will affect the pressure of a load and the velocity of your bullets.
To determine the true internal capacity of your cases, first weigh an empty cartridge case, then fill the case with water (all the way to the top of the neck) and weigh the case again. The difference in weight is your H20 capacity in grains. But how do you keep the H20 from flowing out the bottom? When measuring fired, unsized cases, you can simply leave the spent primer in the pocket. However, if you want to measure new brass or “as-FL sized” cases that have been deprimed, you’d have to insert a spent primer to “stem the tide”. Until now that is… 21st Century Shooting sells a great little $11.99 tool that plugs the bottom of the case so you can measure H20 capacity with ease.
When we saw 21st Century’s Primer Pocket Plug we thought “That’s smart — why didn’t someone think about that a long time ago?”. This handy “end-cap” lets you quickly measure multiple new brass cases or deprimed FL-sized cases so you can get an average H20 capacity. The primer pocket plugs are NOT case-specific (they feature an O-ring that fits the pocket). One version will work with all small-primer-pocket cases, while another works with all large-primer-pocket cartridge types. Price is $11.99 for either small-pocket or large-pocket version.
NOTE: If you want to measure H20 capacity on fired, sized brass, but don’t want to shell out the money for the tool (or re-insert a spent primer), here’s a simple suggestion. When you size your case, first remove the decapping rod from the die. Then you can FL-size the case without removing the primer. Of course, you will eventually have to knock the primer out, and that requires putting the decapping rod back in the die and running the case through a second time. To avoid that hassle, the Primer Pocket Plug may be worth the twelve bucks over the long haul.
Product Find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) has introduced a new, price-capped Production Class in an effort to boost participation by making competition more affordable. Under recently-issued PRS rules, Production Class rifles may cost no more than $2000.00. The rules state:
“Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD.
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.
In an effort to prevent exorbitant costs for beginning shooters, Production Division round count will not exceed 80 rounds.”
To fit the new Production Class Rules, MasterPiece Arms (MPA) has developed the new BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle built around a Savage Model 12 short action. Designed specifically for the new PRS Production Class, MPA’s PCR Competition Rifle offers many premium features yet stays under the $2,000 Class limit. The Savage action is upgraded with a Rifle Basix 2-lb trigger, and the adjustable, modular chassis offers a bag rider, barricade stop, and even a built-in bubble level. Bipods can be attached up front to a rail, with optional spigot mount. MPA PCR Rifles come with stainless Bergara barrels, 22-26 inches in length, fitted with MPA muzzle brakes (muzzle thread is 5/8-24 TPI).
MPA BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle Specifications:
Chamberings: 6mm Creedmoor, 243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win, 6.5 x 47 Lapua, 6mm x 47 Lapua
Action: Savage Model 12 Short Action
Trigger: Rifle Basix Savage Trigger Set to 2 lbs.
Barrel: Bergara 416R Stainless Premium Barrel Blank
Chassis: MPA BA Lite Chassis
Muzzle Brake: MPA High Performance Muzzle Brake
Magazine: AICS Type (10 Round Accurate/AICS Type Magazine Included)
Chassis Weight: 2.9 lbs. (Overall rifle weight depends on barrel length and contour.) MSRP: $1,999.99
Left-Hand and Right-Hand Models in Choice of Five Cerakote Colors
The MPA BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle is available in black, burnt bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, and tungsten in both left- and right-handed set ups. All chassis and barrels are Cerakoted® in a multitude of colors and patterns. (Custom patterns are $150.00 extra). Barrel lengths available include 22 inches through 26 inches. The barrel twist is caliber-specific and the barrel muzzle thread is 5/8-24 TPI.
Editor’s Note: While the MPA PCR Competition rifle has nice features, it’s hard not to compare it to the Ruger Precision Rifle costing hundreds less. The latest Gen 2 Ruger Precision Rifle, with a sleeker handguard and factory muzzle brake, is available for under $1500.00 “street price”. Ruger lists a $1599.00 MSRP for the Gen 2 RPR versus $1399.00 for Gen 1 models.
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The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post explains how to uniform primer pockets and remove burrs in flash holes. These brass prep operations can help ensure greater consistency, shot after shot. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.
Primer Pocket and Flash-Hole Conditioning
This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?”
As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “occasionally!” Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. That’s not to say we’re against it — rather, it reflects the very high volume of ammunition loaded, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes (of which, more later.)
As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56x45mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked in per their usual practice. Obviously, we could not uniform either FHs or PPs on this live-primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it. Regular readers have seen photos of some of the tiny 1000-yard test groups we’ve fired with weight-selected domestic brass which had neither Primer Pockets uniformed nor flash holes deburred.
Figure 1 shows a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. In Figure 2, the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish — evidence of the metal removed to uniform and square the primer pocket.
Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Unlike us, they will be using their cases many times, while the operations are only needed once. Also, most handloaders only process a relatively moderate amount of brass compared to our 20-thousand round lots. Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers form their flash holes so that no burrs are created.
Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of these makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer, and were startled to find that every case had a burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tool and went to work.
For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops. Pay attention to the instructions. Some flash hole deburring tools which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket, depend on uniform case length for best results.
Does It Really Make a Difference?
It can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures, particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass.
One could ascribe this to the old High Power Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps”. Another thought is to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for accuracy.
However, an extremely talented World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FH’s, deburr FH’s and clean primer pockets before each reloading; however, with the wisdom of decades’ experience, he also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”
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We all wish we could spend more time shooting and less time sitting in front of a computer. But when you can’t avoid “keyboard commando” duties, here’s a way you can keep your focus on the X-Ring. Creedmoor Sports offers Shooters’ Mouse Pads for $4.95. This popular (and very functional) product will improve your web-surfing experience (nobody likes an old dirty mouse pad). Digitally printed, Creedmoor’s mouse pads are offered in five basic designs: Bull Target, 6 Inches, Distinguished Rifleman, Distinguished Pistol, and “I’d Rather Be Shooting”. Or, for an extra charge, the pads can be printed with a custom design for your shooting club or rifle team. Mouse pads printed with either the basic designs or custom logos would make excellent prizes to be awarded at your local club. Or buy a few to use as stocking-stuffers in December. Call 1-800-CREEDMOOR for quantity discounts.
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TALLADEGA, Alabama — The 2nd Annual D-Day Anniversary Matches will be held June 4-5, 2016, at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama. The event commemorates the 72nd Anniversary of the Allied landing at Normandy in 1944. Last year, the new $20-million-dollar Talledega Park marked its Grand Opening to the public with the inaugural D-Day Match. That was a great success, and the 2016 D-Day Match promises to be even bigger and better. It’s not too late to join the fun — there are still slots available for the event.
Watch Prone Stage from the Inaugural Talladega D-Day Match in 2015
The CMP’s John C. Garand D-Day Anniversary Match is a big event with many different competitions for rifle and pistol shooters. Along with the signature M1 Garand event, a Vintage Sniper Match, EIC Service Rifle Match, .22 Rimfire Pistol Match, and a EIC Service Pistol Match, and .22 Rimfire Pistol matches will be conducted. Last year’s D-Day match saw the debut of Talladega’s electronic target system. The John C. Garand Range has a huge firing line with monitors at all shooting stations. These connect to three banks of electronic targets positioned at 200, 300, and 600 yards.
Last year, 55-year-old Douglas Armstrong fired a score of 293-10X to become the first overall winner in the D-Day John C. Garand Match — breaking the previous National Match Record. He was also the winner of the EIC Rifle Match.
State of the Art Shooting Facility in Alabama
The 500-acre CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is one of the most advanced outdoor shooting facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The facility includes a 600-yard rifle range, a 100-yard multi-purpose range, and a 50-yard pistol range, equipped with Kongsberg electronic targets and scoring monitors that allow shooters on the firing line to review shots in a matter of seconds. Since the 54 targets at each line register hits and calculate the scores, no pit duty is required at Talladega. For more info, send email to shall[at]thecmp.org or phone 256-474-4408 ext. 414.
State-of-the-art Kongsberg target systems are used at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park.
Talladega Marksmanship Park also contains 15 action pistol bays, a trap field with a 5-stand overlay, and a 15-station sporting clay field. The crown jewel of the Park is the 13,000-square-foot CMP Park Club House, featuring indoor and outdoor viewing areas, a CMP Pro Shop operated by Creedmoor Armory, classrooms, and lounge areas. To learn more about the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park visit: Talladega Marksmanship Park Webpage.
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By Dennis Santiago
It’s called the “Rattle Battle” or more formally, the National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) at the U.S. National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. It requires practice. It takes teamwork. To optimize one’s Rattle Battle practice in California you need a pre-ban AR-15 properly CA DOJ registered [that’s California law] service rifle — something that civilians in California are now banned from acquiring (along with high-capacity magazines). Glad I have my 1989 Roberti-Roos era registered rifle because I do want to represent my state as well as I can at the Nationals. It’s legal to insert a 30-round magazine into this CA-registered rifle.
This is a practice drill shooting 29 rounds in 50 seconds. Hyperventilate, shoot multiple rounds per breath, put them all into the silhouette target. This was slow. I need to build speed to create time to make one or two sight corrections on command in the middle of the string. Practice makes perfect. As they say: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.”
The CMP’s National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) has been a staple at the National Matches since 1922. Also known as the “Rattle Battle,” the event is one of the most unique in the competitive rifling world — scoring is based on how many hits six-person teams can score on a bank of targets during a series of 50-second firing periods at four yardages.
Teams begin the NTIT match with 384 rounds of ammunition, which they fire upon eight silhouette targets from 600, 500, 300, and 200 yards during successive 50-second periods. After each rapid-fire string, team members move forward (to the next-closest distance) carrying all equipment from firing line to firing line. The match emphasizes extremely fast, accurate fire and good communication among teammates. The Rattle Battle is always an exciting competition for spectators to watch.
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By Bill Brassard for NSSF
The holidays are just around the corner. As hunters, shooters, collectors or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend or relative?
The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.
The first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. More than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place; for example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.
Though there’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state, some states (such as California) require you to transfer the gun through a local firearms dealer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun.
The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it on your own and giving it to, say your father, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate from that retailer and giving it to Dad as his present. That way he’ll get the exact gun he wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.
You can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed dealer, but not to a non-licensed individual. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.
What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the dealer requirement. [But check with the laws in your jurisdiction]. Be safe and check with your dealer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.
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Nate Boop Memorial Match 2016, By Hal Drake, IBS Group Committee Chair
This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Nate Boop Memorial Tournament. 60 shooters from the USA and Canada traveled to Weikert, Pennsylvania, to attend the first IBS benchrest-for-group match of the year. This range is set in some of the most beautiful countryside in the East. All the amenities you could want are within easy walking distance: 30 amp electric hookups, nice covered loading area, restaurant/bar, and even a trout stream! With all this and much more, it’s tough to imagine a more welcoming range than Weikert. It’s not advertised much, but this is a money match (like the Super Shoot), which pays a nice bounty to the top finishers in the Grand Aggs.
Most shooters showed up on Thursday or Friday, and were greeted by heavy rains that made for somewhat uncomfortable practice sessions. As I walked down the line on Friday morning, I couldn’t help notice the number of rifles that wear stocks by Roy Hunter. Roy started making stocks just a few short years ago, after a long career as a custom furniture maker. Top gunsmiths like Sid Goodling, Jim Borden, and Dave Bruno feel that Hunter stocks are at the top of the game. Dave told me that he’s extremely impressed with how “dead” the stock is compared to some of the other top end stock makers. Roy’s design has changed quite a bit since he first started, with the latest creations featuring a thicker area behind the tang, and a very robust forend. I have just recently put a new gun together with the latest Hunter stock, and a Rimrock BR action, and can’t say enough about how this new rig handles. His long range versions have a good following as well.
Potential New Records Set by Allen Arnett and Howie Levy
It stayed cool throughout the weekend, with Saturday being the best day for shooting small Aggs. On Saturday morning, Allen Arnette threw down a potential new Light Varmint 100-yard Aggregate Record of .1478″ (and there were five other LV 100 teen Aggs shot that morning). Amongst Allen’s targets was a potential single-group record of .040″. Boat Tail bullets have been all the rage in the short-range group game for some years, but Allen continues to prove that his flat base bullets are as good as any out there. In the afternoon, Howie Levy compiled a .1386″ Heavy Varmint Agg, a potential new Heavy Varmint 100-Yard Aggregate record (there were six HV teen Aggs). Howie is a Boat Tail guy for the most part, and he left a mark with his new Dave Bruno-chambered Brux barrel, and his own pills.
When the shooting was finished on Saturday, we were treated to a pig roast with enough fixins to make Roy Rogers proud. Dale brought in a caterer who delivered a great meal. He showed up on Friday evening, set up his smoker, and got the pig going in the early morning hours. After getting the flags moved for the next day’s 200, we all gathered in the loading area and enjoyed a pretty special feast.
The crew at Union County Benchrest always puts on a great match, and this year’s 30-year Anniversary made for an even more special event. As usual, the Trutt and Boop Families deserve a big “Thank You” for putting so much time and effort into running seamless matches at one of the premier Benchrest facilities in the country. Hats off to the target crew as well, whom I would put up against any target crew in the country.
Sunday morning brought heavy winds that would only get worse as the day progressed. Dave Bruno had the right stuff in the morning to bring home the win with a .2485″ HV 200-yard Agg. As the afternoon started, damaging winds were ripping up wind flags and trailer awnings. Russ Boop showed us how to get it done though, with a .3046″ Aggregate in the trying conditions. When all the dust cleared, the Grand Aggs were split by Howie Levy and Dave Bruno, with Howie narrowly sneaking by Dave for the Two-Gun win. Kevin Donalds Senior put on a strong showing to take third.
Boop Memorial Shoot 2016 Top Results by Division
Light Varmint Grand Agg Top Five
Howie Levy .2697″
Dave Bruno .2797″
Harley Baker .2813″
Russell Rains .2818″
Kevin Donalds Sr. .2849″
Heavy Varmint Grand Agg Top Five
1. Dave Bruno .2394″
2. Howie Levy .2442″
3. Kevin Donalds Sr. .2522″
4. Allen Arnette .2532″
5. Craig Rowe .2587″
Boop Memorial Two-Gun Top Ten Shooters
1. Howie Levy .2570″
2. Dave Bruno .2596″
3. Kevin Donalds Sr. .2685″
5. Allen Arnette .2758″
5. Harley Baker .2832″
6. Russell Rains .2876″
7. Craig Rowe .2968″
8. Russ Boop .2985″
9. Dale Boop .2989″
10. Tony Cerone .3029″
The Boop Brothers
Dale and Russ Boop, shown above, are the sons of Nate Boop, in whose honor this Match has been held for 30 straight years. The Brothers Boop have been shooting Benchrest since they were little kids.
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What was old, is new again… RCBS has just introduced an all-new balance beam scale, the RCBS M1000 Scale. RCBS claims this magnetic-dampened scale will weigh up to 1,000 Grains with +/- 0.1-grain accuracy (one-tenth of a grain is about three kernels of Varget). The new M1000 mechanical scale features a magnetic damping system for fast readings, and maintenance-free movement. A newly-designed “tip-proof” pan should ease powder loading. Notably, the M1000 scale was designed to work in both right-handed and left-handed configurations. Curtis Smith, RCBS Product Director, explains: “For those who choose mechanical scales, accuracy and reliability are top priorities. The new M1000 scale provides exactly that for both left- and right-handed users.” The scale is quite affordable — it is available now at Amazon.com for $129.59. (MSRP is $159.45.) For more information, visit www.RCBS.com.
Triple Poise Operation with 1000-Grain Capacity
The scale has some interesting features, including three poises (weight index adjusters). The main poise goes to 1000 grains, while the medium poise runs up to 20 grains. The most precise small poise spans one grain in tenth of a grain increments. The rated capacity of the RCBS M1000 scale is 1000 grains.
Multiple Reference Pointers for Target Weights
The M1000 also features multiple pointers which can be used to set target weight ranges. This speeds up operations. According to the M1000 Users Manual: “[There are] three separate pointers for easy reading of over and under loads. The center Pointer is what is used when balancing the scale and establishes a ZERO Balance. The top and bottom Pointers represent approximately 1.5 grain above and below target load. The top and bottom pointers allow the user to quickly weigh loads knowing that if the beam pointer is oscillating between the top and bottom pointers the load is within +/- 1.5 grains. Having top and bottom pointers also eliminates the need to move the small poise to check powder charge variations.”
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After the success of its winter Ballistics seminar in Michigan, Applied Ballistics has taken its show on the road. Right now Bryan Litz and his team are running a seminar in Texas, and there will be two (2) more seminars this year — one in Michigan and one in North Carolina. These seminars cover a wide range of topics, with the primary focus on basic to advanced ballistics principles as applied to long-range shooting. Bryan uses a multi-media approach: “Everyone learns in different ways — some by reading, others process graphics better. The Applied Ballistics seminars offer a chance to engage industry professionals directly in person, and to ask your questions directly, in live conversation. This format is the best way for many shooters to learn the science of accuracy.”
AUDIO FILE: Bryan Litz Reports from the Ballistics Seminar in Texas on May 23rd. (Sound file loads when you click button).
To learn about upcoming seminars, watch a preview video, or get more information, CLICK THIS LINK. NOTE: If you want to get involved, places still remain for the summer and fall seminars. SEE Registration links below:
Full House in Texas — Ballistics Seminar is a Big Success
As you can see, this week’s seminar has been hugely popular, with over 130 shooters in attendence. Bryan Litz tells us: “Engagement at the Dallas seminar is great. With so many participants (130+), there’s a lot to discuss! Our content covers a lot of the aspects of long range ballistics, and the guys take the conversation into various applications such as hunting, competition shooting, and Military/LE applications as well. On Day One we covered basic and advanced trajectory features, Ballistic Coefficients, and laser rangefinder performance — all before lunch. In the afternoon we discussed wind from academic and practical standpoints. The afternoon session included a briefing by former USAMU team coach Emil Praslick, one of the best wind coaches in the world. After dinner there were informal break-out sessions with myself and guest speakers. Day Two (Tuesday) will be just as full — we’ll cover a lot of ground.”
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
2. CDNN — Howa 1500 Rifle with Vortex Viper Scope, $899.99
Here’s a great deal on an outstanding hunting combo. You get a complete Howa 1500 Alpine rifle PLUS a quality Vortex Viper 3-9x40mm scope for $899.99. Two chamberings are available with this package. Select the 7mm-08 model for bigger game or choose the .243 Win model for predators and varmints. The Howa 1500 has a smooth-running action and excellent 2-stage HACT trigger. The highly-regarded Vortex Viper scope sells elsewhere for $300.00 or more by itself.
3. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $399.49
A few Forum members have purchased this system and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera with 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a very nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $400.00.
4. Cabela’s — RCBS Master Reloading Kit, $225.00 After Rebate
Everything you see above can be yours for just $225.00, after manufacturer’s rebate. Right now, Cabela’s is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $300.00. This Reloading Kit sells elsewhere for up to $360.00. But he’s the real incentive — if you spend $300.00 on RCBS products in 2016, RCBS will send you a $75.00 rebate. With that RCBS mail-in rebate, your net cost is just $225.00 for the entire Kit.
5. MidwayUSA — $75 Gift Certificate with 1-4x24mm Vortex Scope
Looking for a quality, low-power variable optic for an AR or hunting rifle? Look no more. Right now, at MidwayUSA, you can get a $75.00 Gift Certificate with the purchase of a 1-4x24mm Vortex scope with either 1/2 MOA or 2/10 Mil clicks. And you won’t pay a penny for shipping as MidwayUSA is currently offering free shipping on orders of $150.00 or more. NOTE — 1/2 MOA (or 2/10 Mil) clicks are pretty course — this may NOT be precise enough more for Service Rifle Matches (1/2 MOA is about 3 inches at 600 yards). However the scope may be fine for 3-Gun matches or hunting.
6. Bruno Shooters Supply — Free $100+ Shipping and $10 Hazmat
This is a very short-lived special promotion by Bruno Shooters Supply so act soon. Right now you can get powder and primers shipped with a mere $10.00 Hazmat fee (other vendors charge up to $35.00 for Hazmat). Regular shipping charges apply. However, Bruno’s is also offering FREE
Shipping on orders of $100.00 or more. This offer expires today, May 23, 2016.
7. Natchez — Dewey Cleaning Rods 36″ or 44″, $19.99
We featured this Dewey Deal before, but it’s good enough to be spotlighted again this week. Right now you can get a quality Dewey Cleaning Rod from Natchez for under twenty bucks. These bearing-equipped rods are very well made and can last for many seasons. This editor has a couple Dewey rods that are still going strong after 12 years. For just $19.99, you can get either a 36″ or 44″ coated Dewey rod. NOTE: Select “.22-.26 cal” from the pull-down menu (the other options are for short pistol rods). It’s hard to beat a quality cleaning rod for under twenty bucks. Credit Boyd Allen for finding this bargain.
8. Clinger Holsters — Atom Kydex IWB Holster, $19.99
Our systems admin Jay C. recently acquired a Walther PPS M2 carry gun. After looking at many options, Jay chose a Kydex Clinger Atom Holster. The most important design feature of the $19.99 Clinger Atom is that the belt clip is located over the trigger guard area (not the slide). This design pulls the holster in closer to the body for better concealment. Jay says: “This is a great IWB holster that feels very secure. I still can’t believe it only costs $19.99.”
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